Eagles Put Franchise Tag on Michael Vick
Franchising Vick was expected, the Akers move less so, but each had a fine 2010 season. Vick, who made $3.75 million in base salary last year, would likely more than quadruple that figure in 2011 when he would receive the average of the five highest-paid quarterbacks of 2010.
Akers, who made $1.65 million in 2010, would receive the average of the 10 highest-paid kickers or 120 percent of his salary of last season, whichever is higher. Each man would like a longterm deal with the Eagles, but the tags likely mean that each is staying put in 2011 whether or not that happens.
"Michael Vick and David Akers were two of our most valuable players last year," Eagles coach Andy Reid said. "They were well deserving of their Pro Bowl berths and we're happy to take this step to ensure that they'll be back in Philadelphia next season."
Vick, whom the Eagles signed in 2009 after he had served 19 months in federal prison on dogfighting charges while being suspended from the NFL, had been a dynamic player with the Atlanta Falcons from 2001-06, but he took his game to another level in 2010.
Vick joined Hall of Famer Steve Young (1992) as the only players to pass for 3,000 yards, run for 500 and finish with a quarterback rating over 100 while leading the Eagles to their first NFC East title in four years. The 30-year-old Vick also set career highs with 3,018 passing yards, a 100.2 passer rating and a 62.6 completion percentage in being chosen the NFL Comeback Player of the Year.
Like Pro Bowl starter Vick, Akers finished his season in Hawaii after leading the NFL with 143 points. Akers, who turned 36 in December, made 84.2 percent of his field goal attempts in 2010 (32 of 38). He was 31 of 35 inside 50 yards in raising his career accuracy to 81.9 percent.
He also became Philadelphia's career leader in games played with 188. During his 11 seasons as Philadelphia's regular kicker, Akers leads the NFL in points (1,312) and field goals (291). The All-Decade kicker for the 2000s, Akers is third all-time with 134 postseason points.
Vick and Akers also share the need for money after each lost plenty, the former in endorsements that disappeared in the wake of his incarceration and the latter in what The Philadelphia Daily News reported was an investment deal gone bad. And although each had a strong 2010 season, each contributed to the Eagles' 21-16 opening round playoff loss to visiting Green Bay: Vick with an end zone interception to end Philadelphia's final threat and Akers with misses from 34 and 41 yards after which he delivered a tearful seeming farewell. Akers' young daughter is battling cancer.
The Eagles also announced that another critical veteran, defensive end Trent Cole, had successful arthroscopic surgery on his right elbow on Monday. Cole, a Pro Bowl pick in 2007 and 2009, was third in the league with 52 sacks during the past five seasons. As usual, the 28-year Cole led the Eagles in sacks (10) and hurries (34) in 2010 while also ranking first with nine tackles for losses. He was third on the team with 81 tackles.